Thursday, July 14, 2005

Ida B. Wells Festival this weekend


Holly Springs is hosting an annual birthday celebration this weekend in honor of the late Ida B. Wells.

The big event runs Friday through Sunday and will feature a wide array of activities.

Registration starts at 8 a.m. Friday at the Ida B. Wells Museum, 220 North Randolph Street. A grand opening will follow at 12 noon. The museum has undergone extensive remodeling and repairs, thanks to private donations and a grant from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

Friday afternoon there will be a brick dedication, plus music, dance, storytelling, poetry, face painting, pony riding, vendors and much more. Guest artist is Chandra Clark. A gospel singing starts at 5 p.m. From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., there will be a barbecue dinner in Spring Hollow Park (new walking trail).

At 9 a.m. on Saturday, guests will gather at the museum for a tour of historic Holly Springs, which will focus on African American contributions. Cost is $55 per person.

At 7 p.m. Saturday, the commemorative banquet will be held at the Hudsonville CME Family Life Center. Guest speaker is Dr. Troy Duster, grandson of Ida B. Wells. Cost is $20.

A widely influential sociologist who earned both bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from Northwestern, Duster is a professor of sociology at New York University and chancellor’s professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

Among his numerous publications – exploring sociology in relation to such subjects as law, science, deviance, inequality, race and education – are the books “The Legislation of Morality: Drugs, Crime and Law” and “Backdoor to Eugenics,” both considered landmarks in their fields. Most recently he co-authored “Whitewashing Race: The Myth of a Colorblind Society,” which won the Benjamin Hooks Award.

Recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Ford Foundation Senior Research Award, Duster has chaired the board of directors of the Association of American Colleges and Universities and is president of the American Sociological Association.

Reared on Chicago’s south side, Duster has risen to become one of the most widely respected and influential sociologists of our time. In a body of research spanning virtually every aspect of sociology, he has consistently marshaled solid data to draw striking conclusions that affect scholarly thought and often political debate. In particular, he has exposed how race affects enterprises as wide-ranging as medicine and criminology.

In addition to holding the two prestigious academic appointments, he is recognized internationally for his skills as a speaker, teacher, adviser and mentor. In academia he has been a tireless advocate for broadening educational opportunities for historically under-represented minorities.

The Ida B. Wells Birthday Celebration then wraps up with a breakfast Sunday at 8:30 a.m. at Providence MB Church, 295 Withers Avenue.

For more information on the celebration, call 252-3232.

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